Every IVF patient must face the day of embryo transfer. This is the moment your fertility treatment and dreams come together. It’s worth celebrating that this is happening, as some fertility cycles fail to make it this far. It worked. One or more viable embryos are available for transfer. We are now ready to go.
What should you do to maximize your chances of a successful embryo transfer? It’s the number one question. It’s the number one question that our patients ask. There are many myths about everything from pineapple juice to handstands. It’s time for us to sort the wheat from the chaff. We have compiled our top 10 tips, based on factual information and not fiction, to make your embryo transfer a success.
1. Ask for the most qualified doctor.
Your clinic will inform you that embryo transfer is routine. You are the patient, and you are paying. Assist the senior consultant or doctor who is performing your embryo transfer. They’ll likely be the one who has managed your care thus far.
Experience is important. You want the best. A skilled practitioner is able to hold a steady hand. A practitioner who will not touch the fundus or cause uterine contractions. Someone who will follow the ultrasound-guided images as a hawk. Someone who will release your hard-earned embryos at MIP point like a pro.
2. Do a dummy-run.
Embryo transfer should be simple and quick. Ask your doctor to perform a mock transfer. It may not be necessary, but he might argue otherwise. Ask him why. Sometimes it is possible to assess the uterine cavity and locate any barriers to entry (e.g. It can also help to determine if a different catheter should be used. Our embryo transfer was performed at a UK clinic by a research fellow, not the consultant we requested. She did not read our notes correctly, used the wrong catheter, and delayed the transfer by more than three minutes. Our request for a reimbursement was denied and the cycle failed. Enough already.
3. Do not use a hydrosalpinx.
Hydrosalpinges are high up on the embryo-transfer no-no list. They are not easy to pronounce, but we don’t know how to pronounce them. Hydrosalpinx refers to fluid in one or both of the fallopian tubes. It is often caused by a sexually transmitted disease or endometriosis.
It can also affect IVF treatment. This pesky fluid can get into your uterus and interfere with your womb lining, causing havoc with the embryo that you have just transferred. You should have an ultrasound and/or a Hysterosalpingogram (HSG), well in advance of any treatment. It is important that your tubes are repaired before embryo transfer.
4. You can test, test, and test again.
Although it may seem obvious, don’t trust clinics who skimp on pre-treatment testing. They care less about your embryo transfer than their bank balance if they don’t request the key results. Hormone profiling (FSH and AMH) is required for IVF patients who use their own eggs. It is mandatory for IVF patients using their own eggs. A male-partner semen analysis and a trans-vaginal scanning of your reproductive organs mid-cycle are also recommended.
Hormone testing for TSH or Prolactin levels in donor-egg patients is a good idea. However, it is important to have a semen analysis and a transvaginal scan on days 13 and 14, which includes a measurement your lining thickness.
5. Folic acid should be taken with a multivitamin.
A folic acid supplement has been proven safe and effective in reducing the risk of birth defects. This is true for both IVF couples and couples who are trying to conceive naturally. Start taking one per day at least three months prior to your embryo transfer.
Talk to your doctor about the recommended dosage and consider taking a vitamin/mineral supplement with folic acid, vitamin C and all your B vitamins. Pregnacare was taken throughout our five-year IVF treatment.
6. Consider transferring two embryos if you are over 40. Maybe.
Do not be influenced into believing that one embryo transfer is the best. While it is true most of the times, it may not always be the best. A recent IVF study found that the one-at a time rule is not applicable to those over 40.
In most cases, however, a single embryo transfer is advisable. Two embryos are better than one. This increases the chances of multiple pregnancies and related complications. It is better to freeze one and put in the other.
The number of embryos you place depends on your medical history and the quality and age of your individual embryos. We believe single embryo transfers, especially in fresh cycles, are better.
7. After your embryo transfer, don’t go to bed.
Right? Duvet day is after embryo transfer. Wrong. It is a myth that embryo transfers can be done in bed rest. Relaxing and standing straight is better. Your partner should take you out to lunch, but not the alcohol or postprandial coffee. Take a walk around the park but not too strenuous. You shouldn’t lift heavy objects or trampoline, nor take hot baths. These embryos need you to be active, calm, and dry.
8. Do not cough or sneeze.
Tell your doctor if you have a cold the day before your embryo transfer. It is important not to cough or sneeze while you are having the procedure. Although it won’t impact your chances of implantation once the embryos have been implanted, it is not a good idea to sneeze with the catheter in your uterus. To keep the splutters away, ask for a remedy for your cough.
9. Book a clown or gift your partner a jokebook.
Stress-free embryo transfer is important. So should the following few minutes of recovery. A recent study revealed that IVF patients who were entertained for 15 minutes by a medical clown were twice as likely as patients who did not see jokes after their embryo transfer. A medical clown is likely to have a white nose, a white coat, and a short description. This is because implantation can be helped by low stress levels, according to an Israeli study. Tell your partner that if your clinic doesn’t have a salaried clown, he or she should start practicing Ricky Gervais routines.
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10. You are the only one who can take control of your IVF health.
Preparing for embryo transfer doesn’t mean following the treatment protocol and relaxing. The IVF clinics won’t tell you how to take care of yourself. It’s important that you and your partner take care of yourself. You can both quit caffeine, avoid alcohol, and do moderate exercise. Female embryo transfer patients should only consider acupuncture. It may make a big difference. Take it easy for the first few days following your ET. This is when implantation happens. If your office is pulsing with adrenaline, don’t return to work. Relax and do what you enjoy.